The body knows: knows what is good for you and knows how much you should eat. The body sends signals of satiety. If we ignore these by overeating or bingeing, the mind and the body splits and the signals are not heard or acknowledged anymore and that is why we eat for other reasons than hunger. Mostly we eat for comfort or to soothe ourselves when stressed out, hurt, unhappy or lonely, even angry. We get out of touch with what the body really needs and end up eating mindlessly. “What are you hungry for?” Self-awareness is the highest intelligence” Deepak Chopra. Our emotional problems have to be tackled and understood. Physical and emotional hunger is not the same:
Physical hunger is a sensation of emptiness in the belly, a light-headedness, low blood sugar, a desire for food or a sense of fatigue.
Emotional hunger is the desire for something to soothe or comfort an emotional feeling
The consequences of mind-body split:
- Being out of touch with the body’s signals of hunger and satiety
- Being out of touch with the body’s nutritional needs
- Being out of touch with your emotions
- Giving too much attention to thoughts
When you ignore something, and it persists, you become disconnected. If the disconnection persists, dis-regulation occurs. We are self-regulating systems and if we dis-regulate, we lose our self-regulation and when that persists, we become disordered (Gary Schwartz).
I believe that most individuals’ problems begin with the dis-attention: avoiding, ignoring and suppressing a big emotional issue. Everybody has their own story; this is what I deal with in therapy.
Paying attention to your hunger can inform you when to eat, how much to eat and what might be the most nourishing for you at this time? When you have established through this practice that you are experiencing emotional hunger, you can tune into what you really need and provide what is needed: not food related comfort:
- Taking a hike in nature
- Calling a friend
- Curling up with a book or magazine
What can be done about it?
Let us start with the end in mind. How can your weight be stabilised without either being on a diet or over-eating?
- Connect mind and body through meditation and mindful eating
- Ditch the Diet
- Listen closely to your body
- What is driving you?
- Pause and take a deep breath
- What was the trigger?
- What do you really need?
- Change your story:
- To Change your body, you must change your story.
- Your story is about how to be happy.
- If you find another way to be happy and not by eating, your body will return to its natural balanced state.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Taste matters
- Take control: manage your stress